The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Continues Iconic 'Celebration of the Arts' Festival

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Continues Iconic 'Celebration of the Arts' Festival
The theme for the 2017 event is “Wahi Mahalo…A Universal Thank You” in honor of this milestone anniversary. A quarter of century later, this highly anticipated festival allows both visitors and locals the opportunity to experience authentic Hawaiian culture through various activities including hands-on art demonstrations, informative speaker panels, historic films, cultural panels, and traditional music and dance.

Nestled in one of Hawaii’s largest nature preserves, Kapalua Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua proudly maintains the Honokahua Preservation Site – a recognized “wahi pana” (sacred site) that lies adjacent to the resort, and serves as a destination where Native Hawaiians gather to conduct ceremonial rituals and honor their ancestors. Upon the resort’s opening 25 years ago, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua brought on the first Cultural Advisor to The Ritz-Carlton brand, Clifford Nae’ole, who co-created the Celebration of the Arts Festival to further enrich and educate guests and locals about the resort’s deep Hawaiian cultural roots and historical surroundings.

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Celebration of the Arts Festival grow and evolve over the past 25 years since its inception in 1992,” says Clifford Nae’ole, Cultural Advisor at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “Now a quarter of century later, we are proud to be able to continue to honor our native Hawaiian culture and instill that same appreciation and respect in our resort guests and island locals.”

Throughout the weekend, festival participants will enjoy traditional Hawaiian oli (chants), music, hula, cultural ceremonies, and impromptu performances that reflect upon the spirit of aloha that the islands are known for. The “Celebration of Island Tastes” will culminate the weekend festivities bringing together the foods of traditional Hawaii and the contemporary cuisine of local families.

A sampling of Celebration of the Arts Festival activities include:

Friday, April 14, 2017

  • Hiuwai & e ala e – A native Hawaiian cleansing & sunrise protocol, this is an annual tradition of the Celebration of the Arts. Guests are invited to join cultural practitioners for an invigorating ceremony guaranteed to rejuvenate the body and spirit. Chants are offered by all to the rising sun. *Attendees should bring swimwear and towels.

  • Ka Wai A Kane (Awa Ceremony) – Practitioners and participants gather to pledge their support to all things Hawaiian by sipping the sacred and bitter waters of Kane…awa. *Participation by invite only. Public viewing is encouraged. Photography is not permitted

  • Wehe ka i puka (Opening Protocol) – Emotions and spirituality run high as traditional chants of genealogy and the islands are expressed by practitioners asking permission to be a part of the Celebration of the Arts. The Namahana Award of Excellence will be presented to kupuna (elders) who have dedicated their lives to serving the culture.

  • Hands-on & Contemporary & Traditional Art, Crafters and Farmers Market – Village Gallery artists, traditional cultural artists, crafters and local farmers bring the event to life. Guests are invited to cruise and/or create!

  • The Art of You – Traditional and contemporary art will be open for all guests to enjoy. Artists and practitioners will invite participants to challenge their artistic skills and create an heirloom:

    • Keone Turalde – Kalae Pahu (Hawaiian drum carving)

    • Calvin Hoe – Ohe hano iho (Hawaiian nose flutes)

    • Hoaka DeLosReyes – Kalae Pohaku (Stone carving)

    • Sabra Kauka – Mea ulana lole (Weaving)

    • Hi’ilei & Ku’ulei Martinson – Kihei pili – (Hawaiian patchwork quilting)

    • Kalei Roback – Lei pupu o Ni’ihau – (Shell leis of Ni’ihau island)

    • Cathy U’u – Sea shell & pearl jewelry

    • Sarai Strickland – Ka hae pule – (Prayer flags)

    • Leihua Nae’ole – Olelo No’eau – (Hawaiian proverb banners)

    • Leo Pahukoa-Meyer – “Lei hulu” (Feather art)

    • Kumu Kapono’ai Molitau – “inu ka awa” (awa bar)

    • Sila Kaina – “Ohe Kapala” – (Bamboo stamp art)

  • “U and your Ukulele” – An opportunity for guests to learn and play the traditional ukulele! Kamakakehau Fernandez will guide participants through the exciting learning experience.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

  • The Art of the ‘Aina’ – A first for the Celebration of the Arts as local families and farmers share the harvest of their gardens with a Hawaiian style co-op featuring fruits, veggies and medicinal potions.

  • The Art of Mele (music) & Hula (dance) – Guests are invited to relax and enjoy the real rhythm of the islands as experts guide them through traditional Hawaiian music and Hula dance traditions.

  • “Mahalo Defined” – A deeper look into the definition of the word that in contemporary Hawaii refers to the Western concept of “thank you.” Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt deciphers the kaona (hidden meaning) and philosophy of “Mahalo.”

  • “The Celebration of Island Tastes” – Back for a “hana hou” (curtain call) from last year’s Celebration of the Arts Festival, this feast is not to be missed. Local families will prepare their specialties for everyone to enjoy with accompanying music by the beautiful voices of “Ahumanu” and Halau Hula Malani O Papeke. *Purchase of ticket is required

For more information on Celebration of the Arts and additional 25th Anniversary events, please visit

For more information or reservations at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, please call (800) 262-8440, the hotel directly at (808) 669-6200 or visit The Ritz-Carlton Web site at